How many times have I heard people say, I don’t need to go to church. I can pray to God right where I am. The church is full of hypocrites. Why do I want spend and waste my time with people who act one way in church and another way when we see them outside of church?
First, the purpose of church is not so you can simply pray to God. Certainly you can pray to God right where you are. But that is the wrong assumption of the purpose of the church. When we start off by saying I can pray to God where I am…. I don’t need the church, we place importance on the wrong subject. It’s not about you. And it’s not about me. Sure you and I want to grow in Christ and learn more. But ultimately, the church is about you and me changing others. And God called Christians to do so through coming together on a regular basis – that’s the church.
Statistics show that young people, in particular have become disillusioned with church and feel that not only is church attendance not necessary but that is irrelevant and many feel actually counterproductive to progress in society. If we are to be the disciples God has called us to be we must know not only that the church is relevant, but we must remember that we are the church. Believers are the church and the only way that the church can be relevant and transformative is if we actual come together on a regular basis by attending church. If the church is not being relevant, then that means we’re not being relevant. And God did not call us to be irrelevant. He called us to be significant, meaningful, valuable and to relate to people, for the purpose of a changed and better world.
The Black Church, in particular, has always been a place of change, a place where those who were marginalized and declared less than human were not only affirmed but were empowered to rise up and change the laws of the land and the culture that prevailed. It was the Black church, which often did not meet and could not meet within four walls, but instead had to steal away at night to a secret place where they could praise God while dreaming and strategizing about freedom. The church, the Black Church in particular has always been about freedom and liberty. But we must be a part of the church.
In Thom Rainer’s book, I am A Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference, the author states that too many people don’t like the hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies. He says God placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give and in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel. I say, if you are not in a church where you feel relevant, where you feel you can make a difference, if you feel that the church is obsolete, then you’re simply in the wrong church. But calls us to be in union together. We are called to work together.
When we attend church with true intentions we will understand that it’s not about what the church can do for us. Rather it’s about what we can do through the church and for each other as kingdom participants. Hebrews 10:25 gives clear instructions for the people of God to not neglect meeting with one another. It’s not an option. The only option you have is where you attend church, but kingdom work through Christ Jesus is done through assembling together on a regular basis with other believers so that the world can be a better place through the changed lives of humanity.
Do you think that church attendance is necessary? I would love to hear your thoughts..